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ProtonVPN Windows app

Copyright (c) 2022 Proton Technologies AG

This repository holds the ProtonVPN Windows app. For a detailed build information see BUILD. For licensing information see COPYING. For contribution policy see CONTRIBUTING.

Description

The ProtonVPN Windows app is intended for every ProtonVPN service user, paid or free and supports all functionalities available to authenticated users (user signup instead happens on the web site).

You can download the latest stable release, either on ProtonVPN official website or directly on the official GitHub repository.

The application

The app consists of these interacting parts:

  • ProtonVPN GUI application
  • ProtonVPN Service
  • ProtonVPN Update Service
  • OpenVPN
  • TAP adapter
  • Split Tunnel driver

GUI application

The ProtonVPN GUI app is installed into "C:\Program Files (x86)\Proton Technologies\ProtonVPN" directory by default. The main executable is "ProtonVPN.exe".

ProtonVPN GUI app starts ProtonVPN Service and Update Service when launched and stops services when closed.

App logs are saved to "%LOCALAPPDATA%\ProtonVPN\Logs" directory.

The ProtonVPN build using Debug configuration optionally loads its configuration from file "ProtonVPN.config" in the app directory. This file is not deployed during install. If the configuration file doesn't exist or contains not valid values the app tries to save default configuration used in the app.

To monitor Http traffic of ProtonVPN GUI app using Fiddler or another tool, you might need to disable TLS certificate pinning. To disable TLS certificate pinning the configuration file with empty "TlsPinningConfig" value should be provided:

    ...
    "TlsPinningConfig": {}
    ...

ProtonVPN Service

The Windows service "ProtonVPN Service" is installed into "C:\Program Files (x86)\Proton Technologies\ProtonVPN" directory by default. Service executable is "ProtonVPNService.exe". The service is started and stopped by the ProtonVPN GUI app.

During installation, the service is configured to be started and stopped by the unprivileged interactive users.

Service executable supports installation and uninstallation of service. Passing "install" on command line to "ProtonVPNService.exe" installs the service, passing "uninstall" - uninstalls. This installation method doesn't configure service security settings.

Service is responsible for interaction with OpenVPN, managing Windows firewall and Split Tunnel driver.

Service logs are saved to "%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\ProtonVPN\Logs" directory.

ProtonVPN Update Service

The Windows service "ProtonVPN Update Service" is installed into "C:\Program Files (x86)\Proton Technologies\ProtonVPN" directory by default. Service executable is "ProtonVPN.UpdateService.exe". The service is started and stopped by the ProtonVPN GUI app.

During installation, the service is configured to be started and stopped by the unprivileged interactive users.

Service is responsible for checking, downloading and installing app updates.

Service logs are saved to "%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\ProtonVPN\UpdaterLogs" directory.

To monitor Http traffic of ProtonVPN update service using Fiddler or another tool, you need to disable TLS certificate pinning. To disable TLS certificate pinning the configuration file with empty "TlsPinningConfig" value should be provided:

    ...
    "TlsPinningConfig": {}
    ...

Also, the file "ProtonVPN.UpdateService.exe.config" should be put into the app folder with the following content or an existing file should be updated to contain the "<system.net>" section:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<configuration>
  <startup>
    <supportedRuntime version="v4.0" sku=".NETFramework,Version=v4.7.2" />
  </startup>
  <system.net>
    <defaultProxy enabled="true">
      <proxy proxyaddress="http://127.0.0.1:8888" bypassonlocal="False"/>
    </defaultProxy>
  </system.net>
</configuration>

This forces the ProtonVPN update service to send all Web traffic through local proxy opened by the Fiddler.

OpenVPN

The ProtonVPN uses OpenVPN for maintaining a VPN tunnel. The new OpenVPN process is started on each connect to a VPN and closed on disconnect. Communication with the OpenVPN process is maintained through TCP management interface.

OpenVPN is installed into "C:\Program Files (x86)\Proton Technologies\ProtonVPN\Resources" directory by default. The OpenVPN config file is static, it doesn't change for each VPN server.

The OpenVPN is built from official source by applying a patch to support ProtonVPN specific TAP adapter. See win-openvpn repository.

TAP adapter

TAP adapter "TAP-ProtonVPN Windows Adapter V9" is used by the OpenVPN.

The TAP adapter is installed into "C:\Program Files (x86)\Proton Technologies\ProtonVPNTap" directory by default.

The TAP adapter is built from official source by applying a patch to have ProtonVPN specific name and identification. See win-tap-adapter repository.

Callout driver

The kernel-mode driver "ProtonVPN Callout Driver" is used for redirecting socket bindings when Split Tunnel is enabled and preventing DNS leak by sending SERVFAIL response packet for DNS requests which were made from other interfaces than ProtonVPN uses.

The driver is installed as a system service. It is started when connecting to VPN and stopped when disconnecting by ProtonVPN Service.

Folder structure

The main repository folder contains the .NET Visual Studio solution of the ProtonVPN Windows app named ProtonVPN.

Folder "ci"

Contains continuous integration scripts.

Folder "packages"

It contains NuGet packages of the ProtonVPN solution.

Folder "Setup"

This folder contains Advanced Installer setup project files, resources included in the installer, and built installer files. Subfolders contain:

  • "Images" - images for inclusion into the installer.
  • "ProtonVPN-SetupFiles" - built ProtonVPN installer files.
  • "ProtonVPNTap-SetupFiles" - built TAP adapter installer files. The latest successfully built TAP adapter installer file is required to build the ProtonVPN installer.
  • "SplitTunnel" - SplitTunnel Callout driver for inclusion into the installer.

Folder "src"

This folder contains Visual Studio solution projects.

Folder "src\bin"

This folder contains Visual Studio project build output. This folder can be safely deleted as it's content is recreated by building the solution.

Folder "src\srp"

This folder contains GIT submodule of ProtonMail SRP library.

Folder "test"

This folder contains test projects of the ProtonVPN solution.

Solution

ProtonVPN Windows app is created using C# and C++ programming languages, WPF and MVVM technologies. The Visual Studio solution consists of a series of projects:

  • ProtonVPN.App - the main project which builds to ProtonVPN GUI app executable. It contains startup logic and GUI (view models and views).
  • ProtonVPN.CalloutDriver - the callout driver written in C++ used for split tunneling and DNS leak protection.
  • ProtonVPN.Common - the classes shared between projects.
  • ProtonVPN.Core - the business logic of the application.
  • ProtonVPN.ErrorMessage - displays an error message when the application cannot be run. Builds to an executable.
  • ProtonVPN.InstallActions - the C++ actions used by the app installer.
  • ProtonVPN.IpFilter - the C++ library for configuring Windows firewall filters.
  • ProtonVPN.Native - the C# wrapper around Windows system libraries.
  • ProtonVPN.NetworkFilter - the C# wrapper around C++ library for configuring Windows firewall.
  • ProtonVPN.NetworkUtil - the C++ library for changing network configuration.
  • ProtonVPN.Resource - contains resources shared between projects.
  • ProtonVPN.Service - the Windows service which handles VPN, Windows firewall and Split Tunneling.
  • ProtonVPN.Service.Contract - contains the service contract.
  • ProtonVPN.TapInstaller - the TAP install action used in the app installer.
  • ProtonVPN.TlsVerify - the command line utility which verifies the VPN server certificate.
  • ProtonVPN.Update - the application update module used in the update service.
  • ProtonVPN.UpdateService - the Windows service which handles the app updates.
  • ProtonVPN.UpdateServiceContract - contains the update service contract.
  • ProtonVPN.Vpn - the OpenVPN management module used in the service.

Solution folder "Test" contains test projects.